I live out in the hills. I drive fifty miles one way to get to my place of employment. I am working to change this but that is another story. The final two-thirds of my commute is four lanes of highway filled with swerving texters and raging motorists who apparently all left home about thirty minutes later than they should have. This creates in me an almost Jekyll and Hyde effect when you compare my mood at home in the country as opposed to my demeanor when I arrive at work in the city. Then there is the work day itself which seems to weigh on me a little more. Finally, I must traverse that same path back through gunners and tailgaters to get back to my abode.
Many would ask, why not move closer to work. Come join us in our suburban village so we can show you how to manicure your lawn and come over to your home for dinner parties. One can not possibly attain modern enlightenment living out in the woods. I simply reply that kind of living is not for me. More often than not I receive a bewildered gaze when I balk at their invitation. It is not their fault and I do not judge because it is obvious that they have never felt the peace that I enjoy on the last third of my journey home each day. They have never known the joy of the backroad.
In the year of our Lord 1990 I was given a licence to drive. If you had the pleasure to ride along with me in that day you may have questioned the wisdom of the issuer of said licence. With this freedom I discovered, after my initial outburst of adrenaline and testosterone, that there was a serenity that came with slowly rolling through these rarely traveled paths. I had seen old men in pick-up trucks meandering along these roads waving to one another and even stopping, in the middle of the road, to have a conversation. It took me a little while to understand the appeal of this kind of living but now I get it. The tractor in front of me that used to seem to me an obstruction sent to bedevil my existence has now become a symbol of what I hold dear.
I am telling you this secret with reservation. I desire peace for everyone but I know that if you all try this way of living that it will erode because of the volume of traffic that would come with it. I am confident, though, that this will not come to pass. If you do come this way and find yourself trailing me one evening, just relax and take it in. Roll down your windows, turn off the air conditioning and radio, and wave at folks sitting on their porches. Feel the breeze flow through your soul and let it all go for a while. If you do not like it there, I will not hold it against you. Return to your cities and highways and all that goes with it. I can not go with you because I have made my choice. I’ll take the backroad.